Men’s golf team heads to Dallas for last fall tournament


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The Iowa men’s golf team has already earned a place in the record books after winning threestraight tournaments. Now, the Hawkeyes will try for a fourth-straight victory when they compete in the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in Dallas today and Tuesday.

Ranked 11th nationally in Golf World’s most recent coaches’ poll, Iowa will play the first and second rounds today and finish up the tournament Tuesday.

Head coach Mark Hankins and his team of seniors Brad Hopfinger and Vince India and juniors Barrett Kelpin, Chris Brant, and Brad George escaped the Iowa weather and traveled to Texas on Oct. 30 to prepare for today’s tournament.

Last year was the first time the Hawkeyes participated in the tournament — hosted by Baylor University — and they ended up overcoming awful weather en route to a third-place finish.

This time around the weather is predicted to be in the 70s and mostly sunny for the first day of competition. There is a chance of rain during the final round, but that doesn’t bother the Hawkeyes.

“Bad weather isn’t anything new to us,” Kelpin said. “Whatever the weather’s like, I’m sure we’ll be ready for it — probably more than most teams.”

Iowa is prepared to make a run at the top of the leaderboard despite facing stiff competition. The 12-team field consists of Baylor, Lamar, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Long Beach State, New Mexico, Penn State, Southern Methodist, Texas Tech, and UNLV.

“I think a top-four finish is really what we’re shooting for,” Hankins said. “That would be a good finish for us, because there are a bunch of top-20 ranked teams in this field.

“You have to treat each tournament the same, and that’s what our goal is we’re just trying to go out and prepare individually so that each guy can contribute to the team’s score. If we can do that, we’ll be competitive.”

After building on four second-place finishes from a year ago, the Hawks now get a shot to close out the fall season with one more “W.”

A key to the team’s success this season has been consistency, and the Hawkeyes’ elder statesmen, India and Hopfinger ,have led the way. India has finished in the top-10 individually in all four tournaments this fall, and Hopfinger has finished in the top-10 in his past two tournaments.

But Kelpin and India admitted that while they thought Iowa would be successful this season, they never thought they would win three-straight tournaments.

“It’s icing on the cake for [me and Brad Hopfinger],” India said. “I started here when the program was at its absolute worst … It’s really cool to see how the team has grown and developed under Coach [Hankins].

“It’s really come full circle right now.”

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